Experiencing Elementary School

  • Berry Mayall


Mary Bridges Adams was one of the many pioneering women who worked for a socialist education system, but whose work has been largely neglected in histories of education, though Jane Martin’s book, Making Socialists, does explore and describe Mary’s life-history. Mary worked firstly as a teacher in an elementary school and headteacher, was a member of the London School Board and later wrote and spoke to challenge the social class basis of the state education system and to advocate measures to improve the health of children. In the early twentieth century, she argued for a free, secular education system from primary to university levels, with maintenance grants to help people finance education. During the debates towards the 1906 and 1907 Education Acts, she argued for state provision of the material needs of poor children and she was an important voice, through her trade union, in speaking up for free school meals, and for medical inspection and treatment. She was instrumental in the establishment in 1907 of an open-air school in Woolwich, for children at risk of tuberculosis (one of the main causes of child death).


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Berry Mayall
    • 1
  1. 1.UCL Institute of EducationLondonUK

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